Sunday, July 31, 2016

Happy Birthday Harry Potter #HarryPotter

It's a great day for Harry Potter fans! Not only is today Harry Potter's birthday, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is also out! From last night's midnight releases, to Freeform airing a weekend of Harry Potter movies, to celebrating one of the most beloved children's book characters, fans of Harry Potter have plenty of reasons celebrate! 

One of the things I love about this year, is the fact I get to enjoy the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child through my kids's eyes. They are huge fans of the series. The HP series first came out when I was in college, so I didn't experience the craze of Harry Potter midnight releases. While we didn't get to attend on last night, we still had a lot of fun. We prepped last week by picking up a few Harry Potter games, Clue and Trivial Pursuit. Both of which are at Barnes and Noble, and can be purchased with a discount if you have a B&N membership, as well as coupons. 

For all the old HP fans, be sure to dust off your HP costumes, get your HP books out, pull out your HP decor, and gather together with fellow HP fans to celebrate HP weekend! Don't forget to follow up your Harry Potter read-athons with a Harry Potter movie-a-thon (being aired on Freeform)! This is the perfect weekend to use HP as an excuse to cancel all your plans, and relive part of the happiest memories of your childhood, and create new memories. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

National Geographic Kids - National Parks Edition / Book Reviews

Hit the road this summer with National Geographic Kids and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. What's more exciting than taking a road trip to a National Park. We love adventure, and visiting some of our countries National Parks have been our most memorable trips. There's so much to see and do at any one of our vast National Parks. To help young readers get excited about our National Parks, National Geographic Kids has the perfect books for you to pick up.

National Geographic Kids: National Parks Guide USA (Centennial Edition): The Most Amazing Sights, Scenes, and Cool Activities from Coast to Coast!

By: National Geographic Kids
Published by: National Geographic
Released on: February 9th, 2016 
Purchase from: National GeographicAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads 

Happy 100th Birthday, National Parks! Join the centennial celebration by reading all about these greatest of American treasures - from Acadia to Zion, in preparation for a parks visit sometime soon. Filled with color photos, information on animals, fascinating lists, fun facts, maps, cool things to do, conservation tips, and much more. Think of this book as your trusted guide to these most majestic of places. 

This is a book for all ages! No matter what part of the country you're in, this book covers all the national parks our country has to offer. From beautiful pictures, to information about the park, and a map showing where the park is located, and what you can except to find and do there. Broken up by regions, i.e. The Northwest, Southwest etc, this book is a must have for all adventurers, both young and old. This book is a great way to get your kids excited about visiting / learning more about our National Parks.

National Geographic Kids, Junior Ranger Activity Book: Puzzles, Games Facts and Tons More Fun Inspired by The U.S. National Parks!

By: National Geographic Kids
Published by: National Geographic
Released on: February 9th, 2016 
Purchase from: National Geographic | Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads 

Calling all explores and nature lovers! From Acadia to Zion, discover all 59 of the United States' amazing National Parks in this jam packed books of games, trivia, jokes, fun facts and so much more, all inspired by the National Parks outdoor based Junior Ranger Program. Great for pre-trip excitement, long car rides, poking around historical sites, or general learning, these fun and sometimes silly activities will entertain while they draw kids into the majestic and historic importance of America's national parks. Check out the most amazing park habitats, plus awesome sights and animals you might see, from birds to bears. Fun facts are jam-packed onto every page, so kids learn something amazing about each cool park.

Great for hitting the road, this book is packed with fun facts, games, puzzles, and tons of fun. Inspired by the U.S. National Parks, this book will not only keep kids entertained on the road (or in flight), this book makes learning fun. Kids will learn about each park, it's history, the animals there, and so much more. This is a great book to pick up before you hit the open road. 

National Geographic Kids: Funny Fill-In My National Parks Adventure

By: National Geographic Kids
Published by: National Geographic
Released on: February 9th, 2016 
Purchase from: National Geographic | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads 

Visiting a National Park is a lot of fun. A great way to remember the fun you had at each park or on the way to the park, is with this Funny Fill-In, My National Parks Adventure book. Similar to MadLips, this age appropriate book for kids is one that features each park, and is a fun way for them remember to all their experienced during their visit. 

Buddy Bison's Yellowstone Adventure

By: Ilona E. Holland
Published by: National Geographic Kids
Released on: February 9th, 2016 
Purchase from: National Geographic | Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads 

Twins Elena and Christopher are visiting Yellowstone National Park with their Aunt Rosa, a park ranger, when she gets an emergency call. Instead of waiting patiently, Christopher wanders off. That's when Buddy Bison, the adorable toy clipped to Elena's backpack, suddenly comes to life. As soon as Buddy leads Elena safely to her twin, her new oversize pal disappears. What happened to Buddy Bison? Did Elena imagine him or does he really exist? 

Buddy Bison's Yellowstone Adventure offers breathtaking photographs and a charming story as well as an afterword with a short history of the park, a detailed map, and fun facts about wildlife, conservation and more.

If you're heading to Yellowstone this summer, be sure to check out Buddy Bison's Yellowstone Adventure. 

This is a fun story for young readers to learn more about Yellowstone. With it's blend of character illustrations featured over breathtaking pictures of Yellowstone, readers will follow twins, Christopher and Elena, on their Yellowstone adventure with their Aunt, along with their plush animal, Buddy the Bison. Elena's in for a real surprise when she can't find her brother, and Buddy himself comes to life to help her. As they look for Christopher, Elena learns a lot more about Yellowstone, all thanks to Buddy and the adventure he takes her on. 

Buddy Bison, who is also the mascot for the National Park Trust, loves to teach kids all about the park they're visiting as well as the importance of being a great park visitor. In this story, Buddy comes to life and teaches Elena about Yellowstone, including about the geysers (old Faithful), bison and more. At the end of this book, readers will find fun facts about Yellowstone, a brief history of the park, a map of the park, and pictures.

* Each of these books reviewed, were received from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. Each book reviewed 5 owls, and are books I'd highly recommend picking up!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

THE GALLERY by Laura Marx Fitzgerald / Blog Tour: Guest Post

Fans of Laura Marx Fitzgerald are going to love her new release, THE GALLERY!  Today on Mundie Moms, we were the next stop on Penguin/Random House's blog tour for The Gallery, and featured Laura on the blog. Being that her newest release is a middle grade book, I also wanted to featured the guest post stop here on Mundie Kids. The great thing about The Gallery, is that this book is one both MG and YA readers alike, can enjoy. Copied from the Mundie Moms blog tour post, below you'll find Laura's Guest Post, as well as information about her book. 

*  *  *  *  * 

Please choose a piece of art featured in The Gallery and share why you chose to include the piece in the story. Does this piece have personal meaning to you?

Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s latest middle-grade novel features eight pieces of art, each of which contains a clue that assists the protagonist in solving the mystery surrounding a wealthy family in the Roaring Twenties.

Below she describes how she discovered one of these paintings. 

Proserpine, Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Right after college, I went and studied art history in England for two years. Right before I headed home for the holidays. a friend called and said his friend’s family was going to the Christmas concert at Royal Albert Hall, but had an extra ticket. Might I like to join them? (Yes, he said it like that, he was British.)

I was (and am) always up to a free ticket somewhere, so obviously I said yes.

Afterwards I thanked the friend of a friend’s dad profusely and, by way of conversation, he asked me what I was studying. I told him art history.

“Have you been to the Tate yet?” That’s the museum of British art in London.

“Not yet.”

“Would you like to go right now?”

Mind you, it was 10:00 on a Friday night.

“Um, sure.”

Which was how I discovered that this guy was a member of the Tate’s Board of Directors, who had the right to stroll into the museum anytime he liked, with guests.

We drove up to the back door. With a few words to the security guard, we were all ushered inside. The guard flipped on the lights. And I had 30 minutes with some of the most famous works of British art on earth: Turners, Constables, Blakes, Whistlers. And one very special Rossetti.

If you think this beauty is beckoning you now, imagine seeing her in the middle of the night, alone in a gallery.

That moment has stayed with me for two decades. And when I decided to write The Gallery, I knew that this painting – the one that lures Martha into the central mystery – would be the one that would lure the reader in, too.


By: Laura Marx Fitzgerald 
Published by: Dial Books
Released on: June 14th, 2016
Purchase fromThe Publisher | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

In her follow-up to the acclaimed Under the EggLaura Marx Fitzgerald has fashioned yet another riveting art history mystery in THE GALLERY, this time set in the Roaring Twenties.

When twelve-year-old Martha’s troublemaking ways cause her to get kicked out of school, she has no choice but to join her mother and work in the kitchen for the wealthy Sewell family. Everyone says that heiress Rose Sewell is crazy, and Martha agrees—until she realizes that Rose, an eccentric who refuses to leave her room, may be trying to communicate with the outside world through the paintings she sends down to the main floor of the house. If Martha's right, then Rose isn't a hermit—she's being kept prisoner in her own home. But by whom...and why?


"THE GALLERY a “lively and inventive mystery” that “successfully incorporates history, art, and literary classics.” - Booklist 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

WHO WINS? By Clay Swartz / Author Guest Post

Today I'm so thrilled to have author Clay Swartz stop by Mundie Kids to tell us more about his book, Who Wins?, which is out TODAY! Take it away Clay!


Who Wins? is a children's history book that makes learning about history cool. Readers will mix and match 100 historical figures in 50 competitive categories, from ping-pong to climbing Mount Everest. 

Ever run out of made-up stories to tell your kids at bedtime? That’s exactly how Who Wins? came to be. I started telling my daughter stories about real-life historical figures such as Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Marie Antoinette, Nellie Bly, and more. Pretty soon, these famous folks were competing against each other in wacky hypotheticals. My daughter loved it, and so did I. The book features more than 100,000 possible matchups that I hope you and your kids can laugh and bond over too! Here are five of my favorites from the book:

1. Who Wins the Hunger Games: Sacagawea or Florence Nightingale?
If you're familiar with the Hunger Games series, you know that winning isn't always about being a skilled warrior. That's why I think Sacagawea and Florence Nightingale are two wholly interesting figures in this particular competition. Each are tough, smart, and incredibly skilled at healing. Plus, they'd each work well in groups. If i had to pick a winner, I'd go with Sacagawea. After all, she survived a two-year journey through the uncharted American West, surviving animal attacks, sickness, and unpredictable weather along the way.

2. Who Wins in Stand-Up Comedy: Mark Twain or Muhammad Ali?
Each of these men were known for their extreme wit and extreme confidence, and stand-up comedy is the ultimate showcase for each. For this competition, I like to picture a Comedy Central Roast-like environment with Ali and Twain each delivering barbs back and forth. I know I'd hate to be in the audience for fear I'd incur their wrath. My winner? Ali. No one had quicker wits and more self-confidence than the boxing legend.

*Illustrated by Tom Booth

3. Who Wins at Curing World Hunger: Marie Curie or Nikola Tesla?
Oh how I wish this was a real competition, because I think these two would have a real shot at conquering whatever they put their minds to. Tesla was one of the greatest inventors and technical minds in human history, and Curie was one of the top scientists of the impossibly science-rich 20th century. Their various skill sets and talents would make them a great team, but in this competition, there's only one winner. I'd choose Curie. She was renowned for her selflessness and devoted her life to helping others.

4. Who Wins a Race Around the World: Amelia Earhart or Neil Armstrong?
This one is just plain fun. Earhart was one of the earliest celebrity pilots, setting world records for speed and distance. And Armstrong? Well, he was the first person to go on the moon! Plus, he was a decorated Navy pilot for years before joining NASA. Also, a race around the world would likely require an ability to chat with locals and an all-around good demeanor. Each had both in spades. My winner is Armstrong, thanks to his global celebrity status. But, if you choose Earhart, I wouldn't argue.

5. Who Wins as a Member of The Avengers: Mohandas Gandhi or Wyatt Earp?
Which of these guys make a better member of the superhero squad? What I like about this matchup is that the answer depends solely on how you would approach battle. If you're more of a pacifist, you pick Gandhi, because he would help calm the waters in just about any skirmish. Want to go to battle guns blazing? Choose Earp. The Old West cowboy was famous for his toughness, machismo, and unmatched marksmanship. Since The Avengers already have Hulk and Thor, I'd want Gandhi. 


By: Clay Swartz
Illustrated by: Tom Booth
Published by: Workman Publishing
Released on: July 12th, 2016 - TODAY
Ages: 10 & up 
Purchase fromWorkman, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Mixing and matching 100 historical figures in 50 competitive categories, from Ping-Pong to climbing Mount Everest, Who Wins? turns history into a compelling game, which means kids learn while having fun in the process. Each of the famous people is given a short bio and ranked in six categories—bravery, leadership, artistry, wealth, wisdom, and fitness.

And because there are no right answers, the reader decides, and in the very act of deciding and justifying the answer, real learning has taken place.


Clay Swartz is a writer, forever on a quest to make history cool for kids. His book, Who Wins? (with illustrations from Tom Booth), will be available from Workman Publishing on July 12. Clay is also an associate editor at Boys’ Life, and he can be found @ClaySwartz.

Friday, July 8, 2016

RAYBOT by Adam F. Watkins / Book Review

Written and Illustrated by: Adam F. Watkins
Published by: Dial Books
Released on: March 22nd, 2016
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - We Loved It
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, in exchange for my honest review

When an inquisitive robot named Raybot begins to explore Earth, he knows he is supposed to find the thing that goes "bark." But try as he might, all he can find are things that go "roar" and "oink" and "moo." Still, Raybot keeps searching, and on the way, he discovers that Earth is full of interesting, friendly creatures. Children will relate to Raybot's wonder as he discovers new sounds and animals in the world, and adults will appreciate the detail and beauty in the hand-painted illustrations.

A fantastic story about friendship. 

Raybot is lonely and on a quest to find a best friend. Thanks to a ripped ad he found, he knows that the best friend he's looking for, barks. What he doesn't know, is that he's looking for a puppy. Raybot sets off looking for a barking best friend. His travels take him all over the world, where he meets a variety of different animals. All of them make a noise, just not the one he's looking for. Just when he thinks he won't find that perfect friend, he does, and it's not who you think it is. 

What a cute story! We loved seeing all the places Raybot travels to, and all the animals he meets. This book makes the perfect story time book, because the reader has a lot of animal noises to makes (haha). With it's cute message, and adorable illustrations, this is one picture book I'd recommend picking up!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

HOOT AND PEEP by Lita Judge / Book Review

Written and Illustrated by: Lita Judge
Published by: Dial Books
Released on: March 1st, 2016
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase fromAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets - We Loved It
A copy of this book was provided from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review

In the night skies above Paris, an adorable young owl teaches her older brother about the power of imagination—and the unconditional love between siblings

Hoot the owl is very excited for his little sister, Peep, to join him on the cathedral rooftops. She's finally old enough to learn all his big brother owly wisdom: First, owls say hooo. Second, they always say hooo. Lastly, they ONLY say hooo! But why would Peep say hooo when she could say schweeepty peep or dingity dong? Why would she speak when she could sing? As she explores the breathtaking Parisian cityscape, Peep discovers so many inspiring sights and sounds—the ring of cathedral bells, the slap of waves on stone—that she can’t help but be swept up in the magic of it all. Hoot doesn’t understand Peep’s awe, until he takes a pause to listen . . . and realizes that you're never too old to learn a little something new.

From the beloved author/illustrator of the classic picture book Red Sled , this gorgeous read aloud celebrates the wonder found in little things—and in the hearts of dreamers, young and old

A sweet story with adorable illustrations. Hoot is excited to teach his young sister the ropes of being an Owl. For example, Owls don't make any other noises except for Hooo! Something Peep doesn't understand. She doesn't want to just say Hooo. She wants to make sounds like the magical world around them makes. 

Readers will enjoy learning the sites and sounds of Paris at night time, as young Peep flies through the night learning and discovering all the sounds the city offers. Peep teaches her older brother that sometimes it's okay to do things differently. She also teaches him that magic can be found if only we take a moment and listen to all that's going on around us. 

This is a great story about listening, unconditional love, and realizing it's okay to do things differently than others. With it's sweet story and adorable illustrations, readers will fall in love with Hoot and Peep! This book makes the perfect bed time story!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

THE THANK YOU BOOK by Mo Willems / Book Review

Written and Illustrated by: Mo Willems
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: May 3rd, 2016
Series: Elephant and Piggie #25
Ages: all
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to: Goodreads
Rating: 5 Stars - We Loved It!
A copy of this book was provided from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In The Thank You Book!, Piggie wants to thank EVERYONE. But Gerald is worried Piggie will forget someone . . . someone important. 

Gerald the Elephant and Piggie pay tribute to all their friends, and readers, in the last installment of their beloved series. Fans will love celebrating the end of an era with Pig and Elephant's best book yet. THE THANK YOU BOOK is the perfect way to say good bye to these two cherished characters. Fans will love seeing a cameo of each of Willem's characters in this book, as well as a special message just for readers. 

The Thank you Book it's a great way to remind readers of all ages the importance of saying, THANK YOU, and being grateful. I loved this book so much, I gave copies away as teacher gifts! This book is perfect for gift giving. 

My daughter's thoughts on the book

I thought the was sweet, funny and it's a good book for someone special. It's cute, and teaches children to be thankful for all the people in their life. It's also a good book to read for Thanksgiving. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Tiger Tale (or What Happened to Anya on Her First Day of School) By Mike Boldt / Book Review

Written and Illustrated by: Mike Boldt
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released on: July 5th, 2016 - TODAY
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: the Publisher | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 4 Owlets - We Enjoyed It!
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

From the creative mind of rising star Mike Boldt comes a hilarious and original tale about overcoming back-to-school jitters, making new friends, and taking things in stride. 

Anya wakes up to discover that she has grown a tiger tail. Yes, a striped tiger tail. It also happens to be the first day of school. What will the other kids think? Are girls with tiger tails even allowed to go to school?! 

Anya is about to find out.

A fantastic story that young children can easily identify with, and will enjoy reading! Anya is worried about starting school. She's anxious, because she doesn't think she'll make friends, that she'll be different than everyone, and she'll be made fun of, because she woke up with a tiger tale. Even the kind reassurances of her parents don't calm her fears. She tries everything she can think of to get out of going. Her failed attempts for staying at home are hilarious. Readers of all ages will enjoy meeting this heart warming character, who learns that she really isn't that different from any of the kids at her school. 

This is a great picture book to pick up for any young read who's anxious about starting the first day at school. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July! 
We hope you have a fabulous Independence Day! We're looking forward to spending the day with family and friends, as we celebrate America's birthday. Here's to a wonderful and safe holiday! 

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~